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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 3 Hansard (11 March) . . Page.. 1173..


MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

event. They do a wonderful job in our community. It is so good to see these impressive young people perform so capably at this particular contest.

Finally, I would like to thank a number of people who were involved in making the lot of a wonderful 10-year-old-or 11-year-old, as he is now-so much better. He is the son of an old friend of mine from way back, John Hillier. I used to coach John, his mother taught me at Narrabundah High School and John formed the ACT Veterans, which kept me playing rugby, stupidly, for a lot longer than I should have. He, unfortunately, has two disabled children. The elder, Lee, is wheelchair bound. He is probably lucky to be alive now as he has a severe case of muscular dystrophy. He is a very intelligent young boy. John works and his wife looks after the boys full time. John in fact does two jobs just to make ends meet.

It was great to see much of the Canberra sporting community get behind a "set Lee free"function at the Southern Cross Club. I would like to thank the Southern Cross Club and the donors of various auction items. Tooheys put on very subsidised drinks, which kept the costs down so that the maximum benefit could actually go to young Lee. At last count over $55,000 was raised at the auction to buy a wheelchair accessible vehicle, which will make the lot of the Hillier family, and young Lee especially, so much better. Young Lee got out of the house only twice I think during the school holidays at Christmas time. I would particularly like to commend the efforts of Bill Salter from the Royals Club and Jimmy Roberts, formerly president of ACTSport, who both did a power of work, in Bill's case organising the event and in Jimmy's case helping to organise it and getting all the magnificent sporting items.

Also some prominent Canberra sporting stars greatly assisted. Lucille Bail, Lauren Jackson, Mal Meninga and Robert De Castella were absolutely fantastic in their support of the event. In particular, excellent speeches were made on the night by Robert De Castella, Lucille Bail and Mal Meninga. It was a wonderful effort. There is one little boy who is going to be a lot happier and a big burden has been lifted from his parents as a result of the generosity of the several hundred people who attended. I thank them all.

ABC Radio 2CN

MR PRATT (10.50): Mr Speaker I want to talk briefly tonight about the media. They are an important part of the fabric of Canberra life, they have a fundamental democratic role to play and they have a community service role to play. I never complain about the media even though they do concern me. Either they have commercial interests driving them or they have political interests driving them, but I never complain about them. However, tonight I am going to go against that. I am going to talk about an incident where recently I talked on the ABC morning show with Louise Maher about boys' education. Regardless of what we might think about that subject and what our various positions are, I think I have in common with the other side of the house the experience of having been misrepresented. I hear the Chief Minister talk quite often about it and, Chief Minister, I have suffered the same thing too, so we have common ground here.

I was quite pleased that I could get on to talk about a very important story, that is, the concerns that we have about boys' education, concerns which are broadly felt across the community. We had a very serious story to tell. We are very keen to generate a debate about what we might be able to do here in this community. For about 16 minutes, the


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